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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Speculative Reviews: Nikon Nikkor AF-S VR 135mm f/2 DC


Another article for the Speculative 'Reviews' series for today. Once again, to state the obvious: This lens does not exist as I'm writing this (August 2015), and it may never appear, either. I have no sources in Nikon (or elsewhere). This article is a product of my knowledge and experience, so, in other words, it is an educated guess. The purpose of these articles is to make us all think, what would this lens mean for Nikon photographers, how would it affect our shooting, and in which way would it affect the market.

This one is taken with the AFD 105mm f/2 DC. And AF-S VR version of either the 105mm or the 135mm would be a very, very desirable offer for a lot of photographers.


Unlike my previous speculative reviews, I admit that this one is more of wishful thinking rather than educated guess. In other words, this is a lens many of us would like to see, but, alas, it's not very probable. It's a bit ironic, that a lens as successful as the venerable Nikon Nikkor AF-D 135mm f/2 DC hasn't received an update to AF-S & VR status. Probably Nikon doesn't believe there is a potential market for this one, which is rather puzzling. Then again, Nikon has always been a bit puzzling in their decisions.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Tale of Two Sigmas: Comparative Review of the old & new Sigma 30mm f/1.4

Sometimes prospective buyers can become seriously confused with all the new lenses replacing older lenses. It doesn't make it any easier that sometimes the only apparent difference (apart from a face-lift) is the change in nomenclature. The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is such a case. The first lens was officially called the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM, while the new one is the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM A1. So, does it mean anything the new one is no longer an "EX" lens? What's that A1 there? To cut to the chase, is this a better lens, should you opt for the older instead? I'll try to address all of these concerns today. First of all, let's clarify that both of these lenses are meant for cropped sensors (DX).

The old (left) and the new (right) Sigma 30mm f/1.4:

To better identify to which lens I'm referring to below, I will use green font to refer only (or mostly) to the old lens and red to refer only (or mostly) to the new one.

+ small, light, very fast "normal" DX lens. Reasonably priced.
+ Very good center performance. Better corner performance (does it really matter?)
+ Decent autofocus speed and accuracy. Compatible with Sigma USB Dock.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Between Photography and Graphics: Arma III, a Case Study of Enhanced Reality

A unique article for today. For a handful of you, the title makes it immediately obvious what this is about. For the rest, you probably wonder what Arma III refers to. It is a video game - a so-called first person shooter - taking place in the fictional island-nation of Altis. Only, there is a small detail: Altis is not fictional at all: it is based almost square feet by square feet on the real Greek island of Limnos (or Lemnos, as it is sometimes spelled).

Even if you are not a fan of video games (or first person shooter games, in any case), you would surely recognize it is an incredible achievement, to create a highly detailed computer world - a virtual sandbox - that recreates an entire island, with all its details, from the shapes of the lampposts to the textures of the rocks. The computer-generated Altis is Limnos.

Photo composite of Limnos-Altis (Arma III)
Computer Graphics vs Reality. A New Era of Photographic Art?

You might also wonder, what does all that have to do with Amateur Nikon and photography? Well, you might recall that I actually visited Limnos, Greece, a couple of months ago. I took plenty of photos there. The similarity between the real island and its virtual alter ego simply stuns me.